Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Rice Krispie Treats

Several years ago I bought a vintage German hen mold on eBay.  My intention was to eventually fill it with melted chocolate for an Easter centerpiece.  The huge opening at the bottom and the sides that don't quite fit tightly together made me too afraid to waste perfectly good chocolate so I've only used it for display. Maybe one day I'll find a solution to my melted chocolate dilemma.

When I saw a recipe on Tastespotting for chocolate Rice Krispie treats I figured this would be the next best thing. Mind you, these aren't wimpy chocolate treats make from cocoa puffed cereal.  These are rich, dark chocolate-infused treats sprinkled with sea salt and suitable for adult enjoyment right along with the kids! The recipe made enough to fill my mold plus enough to spread in a small pan and make bunny cut-outs which I dotted with pink frosting for the eyes and will put in cello bags for my grandsons' Easter baskets.

As you can see, she is still a fine figure of a hen even though the krispie treats don't show off all of her details :-)

These treats come together very quickly, so you still have plenty of time to make them! Use your favorite Easter cookie cutter after they have cooled slightly or simply cut them into squares. 

Dark Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Adapted from Serious Eats

Either a 9x13-inch or two 8x8 pans will work for this recipe, depending one how thick you like them.

Serves 9
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing pan
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 1/2 ounces (one bag, about 5 cups) marshmallows
7-8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped  (I used Ghiradelli 60% Bittersweet)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 cups puffed rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Lightly grease pan with butter. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add salt, marshmallows, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa, and melt, stirring frequently. Stir in vanilla.

Fold in puffed rice cereal until completely coated. Fold in bittersweet chocolate. Immediately spread into pan. Gently smooth top with spatula and sprinkle evenly with salt.

Let sit until set, about 30 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bunny Buns

I saw these adorable rolls on Pinterest last week.  I knew my young grandsons would love to see these on the Easter table next weekend and I think they will bring a smile to the adults too :)

I did a test run on Saturday - which did not go well. First, the dough did not rise very well,  then I over-baked them!  "Add insult to injury" as they say. 

Sunday, I tried them again with different yeast and made sure my timer was set (and actually running).  Success!  I only wish I had made the ears a little longer as I think they could be mistaken for mice.  By the time I make these for dinner next weekend, I think I'll have all of the wrinkles worked out :-)

The idea for the bunny buns shape came from this blog.  I decided instead to use a recipe for egg buns formulated for bread machines which I found in my copy of  Bread Machine Magic.  They are really good! Just the right amount of buttery sweetness and soft and fluffy in the center.

In preparation for Easter, the decorations have come out of storage (some old, a couple new) and eggs have been colored.  Spring has teased us with some lovely days and even some Easter-y outdoor flowers! (We won't talk about the snow in forecast later today.)

I hope this spring season of birth and renewal brings you joy!  Happy Easter!

Bunny Buns

Adapted from Bread Machine Magic
Printable Recipe

Makes 16 Bunny Buns or 18 Regular Buns

1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, mixed together lightly
1/4 cup softened butter or margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons active, dry yeast (I used quick rising yeast)

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)

Please a large piece of parchment paper or silicone liner on a 18 x 13 inch baking pan (half sheet).

Place all ingredients except egg wash egg, into bread machine in the order recommended by your bread machine. Select the Dough cycle and press Start.

When the dough cycle is finished (my machine takes about 1-1/2 hours), turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Gentle roll and stretch the dough into an 18-inch rope. With a sharp knife or bench scraper cut the dough first into 6 pieces and then cut each of those pieces into 3 pieces. Each piece should weight about 1 ounce if you have a digital scale.

For bunny buns, roll 16 pieces into a ball and then stretch slightly (2 pieces of dough are reserved for the 'ears' and/or 'tails', if desired.) Place on the prepared baking sheet. For the bunny shape, I squeezed one third of the ball between my thumb and forefinger to form the head area. To make the ears, pull off a small piece of one of the reserved dough pieces and roll it into a thin rope about 4-5 inches long. Cut the rope in half and bend each piece into an 'ear' and place between the head and body. With a toothpick dipped in flour, press the base of the ears firmly into the dough to keep them in place. Then, poke two eye holes deep into the head with the toothpick. Continue with the rest of the dough balls.

When finished, covered the pan lightly with a tea towel or parchment paper and allow to rise until doubled - about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Brush rolls lightly with beaten egg/water wash and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

May be served warm or cold.